Monday, May 2, 2011

Semantic Point --

I awoke this morning to the news that Osama Bin Laden has been killed, and apparently buried at sea.  My first thought?   Hope they took pictures before they "buried him at sea", or sent some DNA to CSI or wossname.

But I have a wee problem-o.  How do I feel about the whole thing?  OK, let me be clear about this:  I think he was like Hitler -- hateful, odious, no redeeming value.  He finally got what was coming to him, because I remember as clear as though it was yesterday (and it's been ten years!) how I felt when I heard the reports on the car radio on September 11, 2001, and how I felt as I watched all day on television and cried for the brothers and sisters who had died, and cried for everyone who loved all those people.  At that moment, We Americans became related -- no "six degrees of separation";  they were OUR family members.

So please read carefully, because I am relieved that such a hateful man is dead.  BUT!!  The phrases I'm hearing on television this morning:  "People all around the world are celebrating the death...."  "The news was met with delight at Ground Zero...."    "Retribution",   "Revenge" - "Joyous atmosphere...."

I'm relieved that he's gone, I hear the news with relief that a chapter has closed (and some trepidation, of course, because clearly it's not a total solution).  But there's something that jars in the reporting and it occurs to me that certain words should never be joined.  For example, "celebrate", "delight", "joyful" paired with "war" or "death".  He's gone.  GOOD!  But you know, I'm not going to raise a glass, dance in the streets or express joy.  Relief?  Yes.  Unbridled delight?  nawwww.

From the mouths of the babes:  Mr. Dearling tells me that one of his 4th grade students on tour at the museum asked him why we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.  And when I think about it, (the CW)  I first think of the hundreds of photos taken by Matthew Brady of young men lying dead on the battlefields.  I'm sorry, I can't entirely separate that image from the realization that every one of those men (or boys) was, at one time, a swaddled infant being smiled upon by his Mama or his Meemaw (or even, perhaps, his mammy).

So let's COMMEMORATE today.  Commemorate the fact that the most Evil, Hateful, Baneful Demon of our time is no longer walking this earth.   I will commemorate his death, and I feel proud of the Navy SEALS who apparently succeeded in this.  But gee, guys - I really can't celebrate  death.

NOTE:  they just mentioned that he was "buried at sea" within the required 24 hours (same as Jews - there must be burial "before the sun sets" - which is interpreted as "within 24 hours"). 

Boy - these are heavy times for Emotionally-charged Aging Jewish Bubbes.....the high of watching our little William marry that lovelly girl in England, the plunging relieved/bummer that Bin Laden's gone.  Good thing Mr. Dearling keeps a good supply of tissues at hand.